Asian Shares Extend Losses Amid Rate Hike Bets

Asian stocks extended recent losses on Thursday as faster than expected U.S. inflation data raised concerns about tighter monetary policy and its impact on the global growth outlook.

Overnight data showed the U.S. annual inflation rate jumped to the highest in 13 years and well above forecasts, while the monthly gauge rose the most since 2009.

Chinese shares fell as bank lending data missed forecasts and U.S.-China tensions remained in focus, with the U.S. accusing the Chinese government of turning Xinjiang into an “open-air prison” by expanding surveillance in the north-western region.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index ended down 33.22 points, or 1 percent, at 3,429.54, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index tumbled 512.37 points, or 1.8 percent, to 27,718.67.

Japanese shares hit a four-month low as inflation worries prompted a sell-off in expensive tech stocks. The Nikkei 225 Index plunged 699.50 points, or 2.5 percent, to 27,448.01, hitting its lowest level since early January. The broader Topix closed 1.5 percent lower at 1,849.04, hitting a three-month low.

Heavyweight SoftBank Group dropped 7.8 percent on valuation concerns, while Advantest, Tokyo Electron and Screen Holdings gave up about 5 percent in the tech sector.

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings climbed 3.2 percent on a Nikkei report the banking group planned to sell down all of its cross-holding shares.

In economic news, Japan posted a current account surplus of 2,650.1 billion yen in March, the Ministry of Finance said, up 37.3 percent from last year.

Australian markets fell notably, dragged down by technology stocks. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 62.20 points, or 0.9 percent, to 6,982.70, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended down 72.10 points, or 1 percent, at 7,209.

Accounting software platform Xero slumped 13 percent after revenue growth slowed in its full-year results. Heavyweight Afterpay lost 5.4 percent.

Gold miners Evolution and Northern Star Resources fell about 2 percent as a rise in U.S. Treasury yields and a firmer dollar dented the metal’s safe-haven appeal.

Winemaker Treasury Wine Estates gained 2.7 percent after its full-year operating profit forecast came in ahead of market expectations.

Graincorp shares surged 5.2 percent after the agribusiness reported a 30.8 percent jump in total revenue for the first half.

Seoul stocks extended losses for the third day amid concerns that rising inflationary expectations could impact the global economic recovery from COVID-19. The benchmark Kospi dropped 39.55 points, or 1.3 percent, to settle at 3,122.11.

LG Chem, Naver, SK Hynix and Samsung Electronics all fell around 2 percent, while rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI plunged 4.9 percent.

New Zealand shares fell sharply, with the benchmark NZX-50 Index ending down 136.09 points, or 1.1 percent, at 12,428.12 amid fears about rapidly rising inflation.

U.S. stocks plunged overnight to extend the week’s declines after data showed consumer inflation rose at its fastest rate since 2008 last month, raising worries about whether companies will be able to pass the increased costs on to consumers.

The Dow lost 2 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite plummeted 2.7 percent and the S&P 500 shed 2.1 percent.

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